CCLP Awarded £2,220,500 by National Lottery Heritage Fund

The Coalfield communities of East Ayrshire are set to benefit from a multi-million pound landscape and heritage regeneration project, following the exciting announcement that the Coalfield Communities Landscape Partnership has been successful in its application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the National Lottery players the Coalfield Communities Landscape Partnership (CCLP) has secured £2,220,500 for a 5 year delivery phase. When added to other funding that partners have secured and will continue to secure, the total project budget will be in the region of £6million.

The partnership will be delivering 22 exciting community led projects over the project area that aim to significantly improve the cultural, natural and industrial heritage of the area.  The wide range of projects include peatland restoration, new footpaths, an oral history project to capture memories of the lost mining villages, the reinstatement of hedgerow habitats, a musical celebration of life in the coalfields and much, much more.  The funding provides an opportunity to re-vitalise life in and reconnect local communities with their  own distinctive landscape by tapping into its history, improving knowledge of the present and helping inspire aspirations for the future.,

Caroline Clark, Director Scotland of The National Lottery Heritage, said:

“The industrial history of East Ayrshire means that people often don’t recognise that the area is rich in both built and natural heritage. With the help of National Lottery funding, the Coalfield Communities Landscape Partnership will help communities across a wide area reconnect with the heritage on their doorstep, strengthening their sense of pride and inspiring stewardship of the land around them.”

The impetus for the CCLP came from East Ayrshire Council’s Minerals Local Development Plan which focusses on regeneration and restoration, rather than just mineral extraction.  Adopted in January of this year, the CCLP is fully embedded within the Minerals Local Development Plan (MLDP) and will work with other initiatives to improve the coalfields area over the lifetime of the Plan.

Cllr Roberts, Cabinet member with responsibility for Economy and Infrastructure said

‘I am absolutely delighted that the application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund has been successful.  This is the culmination of a huge amount of hard work over the last 2 year from the CCLP team and of course our passionate and committed community partners, without whom the Partnership just would not work.  I am excited to see the marvellous mix of projects as they come to fruition over the next five years and I’m sure all our communities will benefit greatly from them.’

East Ayrshire Council is the lead Partner of the CCLP, the other Board members being East Ayrshire Leisure, Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere, Scottish National Heritage, Forest and Land Scotland, Central Scotland Green Network Trust and East Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership.

Ed Forrest from the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere said “I’m thrilled to hear the great news that funding has been confirmed and really looking forward to our UNESCO Biosphere working with local communities and partners in delivering what will be a truly transformational project for the Coalfields area.”

Our community partners are also pleased to receive the support which will help deliver projects that they have been working on. The Rev John Patterson, Lugar Parish Church said “For five years the Kirk Session and congregation of Lugar Parish Church have been planning the development of the Church building, first donated to Lugar by Baird & son in 1867, so that it might be more relevant as a building and a resource today. Without ceasing to be a worship centre, phase two was proposed to be the internal development of the building to include a cafe, disabled toilets, disabled access and a heritage information centre concentrating on the immediate local area and such people as William Murdoch.  We in Lugar Church are most grateful to all partners inside and beyond the church for their encouragement and support. The bid to HLF through CCLP and East Ayrshire Council has been successful and the development of the church will commence soon, ensuring the building will be a continuing gift to Lugar that keeps giving as an asset to the whole community.”

National Lottery Heritage Fund site visit

In spite of the weather on the 28th of January the CCLP had our site visit (as part of our stage 2 bid) from the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF). We started at the Community Hub in Ochiltree with short presentations from Sir James MacMillan (Cumnock Tryst) on the ‘Musical Celebration of the Coalfields’ project followed by Bruce Davidson (East Ayrshire Woodlands) talking about the ‘Land Management Apprentice’ project and Daisy Whytock (East Ayrshire Coalfield Environment Initiative) presenting on the ‘Perfect Peatlands’, Coalfield for Pollinators’ and Healthy East Ayrshire Rivers’ project.

We then took a short mini bus tour to Netherthird Community Garden (via Skares) where Jamie Campbell (Netherthird Community Action Training) talked about the ‘Hedge Row Habitats’ and we had a walk around the garden and saw the great work that is going on.

We then took the mini bus to Lugar Parish Church where we were introduced to the ‘Lugar Heritage Centre’ project by Mrs Marion Wylie, Rev John Paterson and Mrs Isabel Campbell.

The Parish Church has a very interesting history. The building was built by Baird & Co as part of the steel factory which was once on the site where the church now is. It was built as an engine room where the railway engines, used to transport the steel from Lugar to its destination, were inspected and maintained. When the steel factory moved the building was gifted to the people of Lugar to enable the workers in the factory and the residents of Lugar to worship. It has been a place of worship, now maintained under the auspices of the Church of Scotland, for 152 years.

We then returned to Ochiltree for lunch and a question and answer session. We had a good attendance from our enthusiastic and passionate project partners and all felt the visit went well.

The NLHF visitors found the visit very useful and have thanked all the partners for coming along and making their trip to East Ayrshire an enjoyable and worthwhile visit.

Further information about the CCLP can be found on our website

Fingers crossed for a positive result when the NLHF committee meet on 5th March2020.

Stage 2 Bid Submitted

On November 19th the Coalfield Communities Landscape Partnership (CCLP) team submitted the Stage 2 bid for the Landscape Partnership scheme to the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF). NLHF will consider our submission over the next few months before making a decision in March 2020; we anticipate starting the delivery phase of the CCLP in April 2020.

This marks the end of the 2 year development stage during which time we put together our Landscape Conservation Action Plan (our ‘manifesto’ detailing why the heritage; built, cultural and natural, of our area is special, what is at risk and what we are going to do about it). This has been informed by various studies that were commissioned covering. We also worked with a range of local communities, people and groups to put together our delivery programme of 22 projects. If successful then these projects will be delivered over a period of 5 years.

The projects cover a wide range of topics from celebrating the areas heritage through music, recording oral histories of life in the ‘lost villages’ in the coalfields, exploring the history of place names, improving access to the countryside and heritage, peatland restoration, native tree planting, land management apprenticeships, heritage centres and mountain biking to name a few. Some more information on these projects can be found on our website

This unique mix of projects provides an exciting opportunity for the CCLP to have a landscape scale impact with regards to the areas built, natural and cultural heritage.

Over the next few months, the CCLP team will be working with the various project partners to ensure that everything is in place for our year one projects to start delivering on the ground from April 2020.

Peatland News

With much speculation about climate change and carbon emissions, environmentalists in East Ayrshire are excited about a new and important discovery in the heart of the countryside near the former mining community of Ochiltree.

Barlosh Moss, may look like an ordinary boggy bit of ground, but a new survey, commissioned by the Coalfield Communities Landscape Partnership (CCLP) and carried out by Whytock Ecology with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and support from Scottish Natural Heritage, has  revealed that the peat moss there is 12.22m deep – making it the deepest recorded peat bog in Scotland!

To understand why this is important, Councillor Jim Roberts, East Ayrshire Member for Economy and Infrastructure explained: “peatland is an important factor in carbon emissions and global warming. Drained peatlands release a lot of harmful carbon back into the earth’s atmosphere, and worldwide it is estimated that degraded peatlands contribute 5.6% of manmade CO2 emissions, increasing the likelihood of flooding and contaminating rivers. On the other hand, healthy peat bog, such as Barlosh,  act as a sponge, retaining carbon, capturing rainwater and slowly releasing it as filtered water into streams and rivers at a manageable rate.

“This means that Barlosh is a particularly important site environmentally as Scotland moves to cut carbon emissions and preserve our precious habitat.

“The survey was carried out as part of the work of the CCLP to help work out how we can preserve and restore peatland in East Ayrshire, particularly in the former mining sites. Long term the findings and resulting work will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve local water quality and protect important habitat for insects, animals and plants. Ultimately of course, it is people who will benefit from this too!”

“Anyone who is interested can find out more about what the CCLP is doing, how to volunteer and get involved by visiting their brand new dedicated website .